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10 vivid maps that show Earth in a new light

By: Bryan Nelson on Dec. 5, 2014, 8:45 a.m.
Average land surface temperature

Photo: NASA

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Average land surface temperature

This map, assembled by the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite, shows daytime land surface temperature globally during the month of August 2001. Land surface temperature is a good indicator of the energy balance at Earth’s surface, and these measurements are required for a wide variety of climatic, hydrologic, ecological and biogeochemical studies.

Of particular note in this image is the high temperature of land area around the periphery of the Greenland ice sheet. You can see the dramatic difference in land temperature of exposed land compared with land covered by ice. As the Greenland ice sheet retreats because of global warming, it reflects less sunlight, and more heat is absorbed by the land.